'NBA 2K21' Next-Gen Gets New Shot Meter, Shot Arc Aim, Dribble Moves & More

NBA 2K21 lands on next-gen hardware this November, and it sounds like the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S build features quite a few unique gameplay features worthy of discussion. In a recently published Courtside Report blog post, Visual Concepts Gameplay Director Mike Wang detailed adjustments coming to the shot meter, pro stick aiming and more. You can see videos of the features at the source link.

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'NBA 2K21' has big gameplay changes coming in its next-gen game. There's a new shot meter and more. 'NBA 2K21' releases November 12 on PS5 and November 10 on Xbox Series X/S. Visual Concepts/2K Sports

Starting with the more controversial parts of the lengthy read, Wang revealed shot stick aiming will be used and augmented on the new consoles. In addition to pulling the stick back to take your shot on next-gen, the speed at which you do so impacts the arc of the shot itself. Fast flicks make for shorter arcs, while slow movements offer increased range. This same principle is applied to bank shots too, with quick flicks closer to the rim resulting in stylish buckets.

Thankfully, however, some of that increased skill gap is offset by tweaks made to the shot meter and layup control. In the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S versions of NBA 2K21, the shot meter is bigger and doesn't decrease in size when you pull out for a wider camera angle. It also has a black-and-blue aesthetic that's easier to see. There's even a much cleaner arrow marker designed to make reading the sweet spot far more manageable. But, given all these cushions, completely missing the timing window now means an absolute miss on the shot.

In the layup department, aiming is disabled by default, which should make close buckets much more of a sure thing. Those who want the added control, however, can still enable it in the options menu.

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New gameplay features make 'NBA 2K21' more realistic than ever before. 2K Sports/Visual Concepts

If you like controlling the rock from further range, pull-ups on next-gen are categorized as either controlled or high momentum. High-momentum pull-ups involve using turbo, while the controlled alternative does not. At times when the three-point line is in play, your player will also recognize which shot you're going for in more natural ways.

The next-gen version of NBA 2K21 also makes things much more interesting for dribble masters, now that stick speed is also taken into account. Size-ups can be slowed down or sped up, based on how you rock the right stick from left to right, and that speed can be dynamically changed as you see fit. In other words, the meta of fooling defenders just got a whole lot deeper because shooters can actively alter the speed of their dribble at any time. The most skilled players will even perform signature escape moves when the right stick is held up. These same base concepts can be applied to triple threats, too.

With all these new features in mind, the gameplay formula for the next-gen version of NBA 2K21 sounds like a marked improvement over its current-gen counterpart. While the two games certainly share plenty of DNA, the next-gen offering might be the better of the bunch. Many of the current-gen's biggest problems have already been addressed here, which should make the launch on next-gen that much smoother.

All that being said, it is unfortunate that those who paid $60 for 2K21 in September sound like they're getting a lesser product going forward. It's possible some of these features will migrate to both builds when hardware limitations aren't an issue, and we certainly hope that's the case. Regardless, there's no denying the base gameplay of next-gen NBA 2K21 sounds very promising.

NBA 2K21 is available now on PS4, Xbox One, Switch and PC. The next-gen version releases November 12 on PS5 and November 10 on Xbox Series X/S.

What are your thoughts on the gameplay changes for NBA 2K21 on next-gen platforms? Are you happy with the improved shot meter and pro stick aiming? Tell us in the comments section!